The council has allocated £150k to continue a food pantry scheme that has seen nearly triple the expected number of households access it as families struggle with rising costs.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet agreed to provide the funding to Rural Action Derbyshire to continue the Affordable Food Network (AFN) for the provision of seven food pantries in Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, North East Derbyshire and Amber Valley giving people access to good quality, affordable and nutritious foods.
A report into the matter stated: “The project initially estimated an output of 100 families per food pantry, however uptake by the public has significantly exceeded the supply. “The current seven food pantries have seen over 2,000 households access their support, leading to some pantries having to establish a waiting list.
“This demonstrates the considerable unmet need in Derbyshire and the need for increased funding of this initiative.
“Challenges faced by this initiative include rising cost of food, rising cost of energy, rising cost of petrol, reduced donations from the public and reduced availability of volunteers.
“This has been exacerbated by the cost-of-living pressures.”
There are five more pantries planned in the AFN and the currently funding covers the period of April 1 2023 and March 31 2024, after which the scheme will be included in a substantive contract.
The purpose of the pantries is to reduce the use of food banks while giving people the sense of well-being that comes from making a small financial contribution towards food instead of feeling reliant upon handouts.
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